26. No Smoking
For the past week Elizabeth would come home from work and discover that her apartment smelled like cigarette smoke. She did not know where the smell was coming from. Elizabeth didn’t smoke. No one else had the key to her apartment to smoke inside while she was at work. The smell of smoke especially bothered her because she had asthma.
One day Elizabeth stayed home from work because she was expecting a package. When she woke up that morning, the apartment smelled fine. At one in the afternoon, Elizabeth went into the kitchen to make a sandwich for lunch. That was when she noticed the smell of cigarette smoke. She called the building’s superintendent. By the time he arrived at Elizabeth’s apartment, the whole place smelled like cigarette smoke. The super told Elizabeth he was pretty sure the smoke was coming up though the vents from her new downstairs neighbor. The new neighbor was a smoker. The super told Elizabeth there was nothing to be done. The building was really old and the vents couldn’t be sealed. It was also perfectly legal for the downstairs neighbor to smoke in his apartment. He suggested that Elizabeth buy an air filter and see if that would help.
Elizabeth bought an air filter but didn’t find it to be enough. Her asthma was getting worse. Her clothes and furniture were beginning to smell like cigarette smoke, too. Elizabeth decided to go downstairs to talk to the neighbor. She was going to ask him not to smoke in his apartment. Elizabeth knocked on the door. When he opened the door, a huge wave of cigarette smoke came out. Elizabeth began coughing violently. The neighbor gave Elizabeth a disgusted look. “Are you trying to get me sick?” the neighbor asked her. Elizabeth couldn’t believe what he was saying. “No, but you are,” she said.